News and Events


Bikes and cars met up enroute – here at Woolpit Church (photo by Martin Males)

The annual fundraising event for Suffolk’s church buildings went ahead on Saturday 12 September and now the sponsor money from hundreds of cyclists, walkers, runners and church volunteers has largely been counted, the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust are pleased to announce that the total far exceeds last year’s achievement.

So far, with more money still coming in, sponsorship has raised £157,000, exceeding last year’s total of £128,223. Usually over 500 churches take part in the fundraising day which is organised by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. Not surprisingly fewer churches were open to receive the hundreds of participants, but the average raised per participating church was well up. 

“In March, when the Ride and Stride was planned, any reservations we had were outweighed by the enthusiasm of our organisers, and the continuing need for funds for the Trust. It was a challenge, and we have all been surprised and delighted at the response from riders, walkers and their generous sponsors. Some riders and parishes who did not participate nevertheless sent in handsome donations. We would like to send our profound thanks to all” said Patrick Grieve, Chairman, Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride. “With cash still coming in, hopefully we can take the figure over £155,000.”

Participants in Ride and Stride chose their own route around Suffolk’s churches, visiting as many or as few as they wished, and their sponsor money will be divided between their chosen church and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, who will use their half to give grants to churches for much needed repairs to their building or for improved community facilities. 

For the second year Ride and Stride was joined by Pedal & Drive, its sister event for vintage and classic cars, which also went ahead with all relevant safety measures. A hundred cars many of which dated back to the 1920’s set off from various points in Suffolk to enjoy the churches and compete in a tricky quiz. The Trust is pleased to announce that the drivers raised an additional £14,000.

“The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust are deeply grateful that so many people all over Suffolk made the effort to turn out on September 12th to bike, walk or drive their old vehicle to raise money for the upkeep of our glorious legacy of churches and chapels, and indeed, to all those who opened their church to welcome visitors. Each one of them decided to go ahead despite Covid 19 concerns,” says Geoffrey Probert, Trust Chairman. “We will ensure their effort and the monies they raised are rewarded in much needed repairs to many Suffolk churches”.

The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust has continued to give out grants throughout the coronavirus pandemic and welcomes applications from churches and chapels. The most recent grants, totalling £10,500, were awarded in October. Grants went to All Saints Hartest, All Saints Ashbocking for roof repair work, The Unitarian Meeting House in Ipswich towards providing an accessible toilet, and St Mary’s Pakenham for alterations to enable increased community use.

In 2021 Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, and Pedal & Drive, will be held on Saturday 11th September.

More stories are coming in from Ride and Stride day….

This year the Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride event, organised by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, welcomed many new participants, keen to put their enthusiasm for cycling and walking to a good cause, after many lockdown weeks. 

New to the event this year were also many runners who, having had their usual events cancelled, were keen to get involved. 

Bill Hill from Brockley, who works for a charity, usually runs with the Vegan Runners, a national group, and has competed in in ultra-marathons, marathons, half-marathons and 10km races.

“During lockdown I decided to plan my daily run via different churches, as they are so interesting. Most are a real heartbeat of their community. Some are located right in the middle of a village and others, like Lavenham, have a position high on a hill.” he explained. “My parents are members of St Andrews Church in Brockley and Itook part in the annual Ride and Stride as a child, but assumed that too would be cancelled because of Covid. When I heard it was to go ahead, I decided to see how many churches I could run to in the eight hours of the event.  I studied maps, planned my route, and managed to visit 41 churches, running 45 miles!”

Some of Bill’s sponsors made a donation while others paid per church, but he did warn them of his target of 45 churches, a target he only just missed. With his epic run, Bill raised £750, with half going to Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and half to St Andrews church, Brockley. He plans to take part in Ride and Stride again next year.

“I am going to plan my route carefully and really study the maps so I don’t have to double back at all, then I should be able to beat this year’s tally.” Perhaps I can run 50 miles and visit even more churches!”

Thank you very much Bill for your support. 

Perhaps other runners would like to see if they can equal, or even beat, Bill’s target in 2021….

Bill Hill on one of his usual runs!

Ride and Stride 2020 photography competition

Thank you very much for everyone who took the time to enter our first ever Ride and Stride photography comnpetition. There were some great entries and it is an idea that we will repeat next year. Several people have commented that it was great fun and added something to the day.

Our independent judge (a churchwarden/keen amateur photographer ) was impressed by the standard of many of the photos and it proved difficult to choose an overall winner. However, it is the Britten family who cycled around the Long Melford area who have been declared the winners for 2020. They were raising money for the Trust and for Haverhill Methodist Church. They visited 31 churches, cycled 35 miles and raised £238 (‘so far’!).

Our winners for the 2020 photography competition.

The prize is a £100 book token, kindly donated by a Trust supporter.

Let’s look at some more of our intrepid photographers!

Thank you…..

Car meets cyclists! (Photo by Martin Males)

We were blessed with sunny weather and everyone involved enjoyed doing their bit to raise money for the upkeep of Suffolk’s glorious legacy of churches and chapels. Our legion of loyal amateur cyclists were joined this year by some pro’s from the cycling clubs, by people walking from church to church and by a flotilla of vintage and classic cars on a mystery church tour and quiz. We had carefully risk assessed every aspect of the day to make this a covid secure event and everywhere I went I was glad to see people were observing the rules on social distancing and so on. Thank you very much to everyone who got involved whether it was total part on foot, bike or motor vehicle, as one of our volunteer organisers in the community, or by sitting outside a church to welcome and thank people. We will announce the total raised as soon as all the sponsor money and donations are in. We hope that for next year’s Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, and Pedal & Drive, (Saturday 11 September) normal service will have resumed! Thank you again.

Geoffrey Probert, Chairman, Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.

Exciting News

New for 2020, we are having a photography competition for walkers, riders and runners, for the photos they take as they head around their chosen route in Suffolk. Thanks to a generous donation, the prize is a £100 voucher. Full details will be announced on Saturday 5th September.

To take part in our photography compeitition click here for more details:


In addition, we have a family quiz for those touring Ipswich town centre churches, on foot or on bikes. Prize – £50 voucher. Full details to be announced on Saturday 5 September. 

Riding and striding around Ipswich? click here to take part in our quiz: SHCT Family quiz 2020 IPSWICH

Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive 2020 are ON!

small-rs-map-on-bike-1On the second Saturday of September each year, cyclists and walkers set out across Suffolk on a sponsored journey from church to church raising money for the fabric of our churches and chapels – with the proceeds shared equally between the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust for future grant giving and the participant’s chosen church. The Trust plan that Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride 2020 will go ahead on the customary date – adapting, as necessary, for whatever Covid 19 guidelines advise on the day.

Everyone taking part can choose their own route and visit as many or as few churches as they wish, on foot, bike or mobility scooter. Even though it may feel a bit different this year, and may possibly be a smaller event than normal, the Trust has decided to go ahead with this year’s Ride and Stride, as well as its sister event, Pedal and Drive for vintage and classic cars.

“In view of the importance to the work of the Trust of our main fund raising event, we are doing all we can to ensure the event goes ahead on the 12th September,” explained Patrick Grieve, the Chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride. “Churches and chapels are now open for services provided social distancing is observed and Government guidelines for sensible health precautions followed. Not all churches may be open for Ride and Stride on Saturday 12th September, and there may be no one to welcome or sign you in, but two or three people cycling together in the Suffolk countryside or walking in our towns should be perfectly safe, Never before has there been a greater need for support for our places of worship.”

Churches that usually offer refreshments may decide not to do so this year and, if a church is not manned, riders and walkers will log the name of the church themselves. “Since most people are sponsored per event rather than per church this shouldn’t be a problem, and sponsorship can also be collected via JustGiving,” Patrick continued. “Many more people are walking and cycling since the lockdown, so this event will give them an ideal focus for their efforts! It is a free event and we just ask for you to get sponsored by your friends and family.”

“There has never been a more important time for our church finances,” added Trust chairman, Geoffrey Probert. “Fundraising to repair these beautiful Suffolk churches has been halted because of Covid and this is a way to help them. Indeed, we hope that those supporters who do feel comfortable taking to their bikes will make every effort to get extra sponsorship this year.”

Sponsor forms are now available and cyclists and walkers can start deciding their route, ready for the event on Saturday 12 September.

With the cancellation of the Goodwood Rally this year, owners of vintage and classic cars in Suffolk will also welcome the opportunity to join in Pedal and Drive on the same day.

“The format will be much as last year with each driver allocated one of half a dozen historic houses to assemble at before making their way across Suffolk, stopping at a few churches to answer their quiz questions, en route to meeting together on the Upper Green at Long Melford. Again, we will follow whatever Government guidelines are for sensible health precautions, come September”.

Car owners need to fill in an entry form available on this website.

“Last year Ride and Stride, and the sister Pedal & Drive Car Rally, raised £137,000 in one day,” remembered Patrick Grieve. “Throughout the year we give grants to help with the restoration, repair and to improve facilities, in churches and chapels. It is often the only community building available for local people to use for events, as well as church services. Grants have continued to be given, even in the lockdown.”

The organisers will be following Government guidelines. “If the Covid situation was to deteriorate to the extent that it became unwise to go ahead, we will not hesitate to cancel and get the word out there. If you are uncertain whether the event is still going ahead please check on social media or this website,” said Geoffrey Probert. “But we very much hope it will be full steam ahead. Finally I would like to record my gratitude to all those who work to organize the day and to all those intrepid bicyclists, walkers and car drivers who turn out on the day to raise money for the good cause”.

For more details of how to take part in Ride and Stride contact the Local Organiser in your area via your local church, or via this website.


Concert Postponed

Sadly, the planned concert by Yalda Davis has been postponed.

By the way, because of Covid 19, she hasn’t quite completed her challenge of playing in every Suffolk church yet. She has now played her cello in 425 churches- an amazing total! There are a maximum of 75 left for her to play in. We will let you know when she has completed her mammoth task and can schedule her final concert.

Latest grants awarded to Suffolk churches

Eight grants totalling £19,000 have recently been awarded to seven churches and one meeting house. Hacheston, Walberswick, Bromeswell, Fornham St Martin, for repairs to the fabric. Swilland and Crowfield towards modern facilities. Ilketshall St Margaret towards electrical work. Bury St Edmunds Unitarian Meeting House towards replacement of heating boiler.

Crowfield church.
Crowfield church